Inspiring others with trees and words
Next up from our wonderful list of Inspiring Activists is LiLi K. Bright. A writer and workshop facilitator, LiLi created Cherry Tree Walk to support marginalised Londoners to connect with nature and their own creativity. Obsessed with city nature, LiLi writes ecopoetry & climate fiction about birds & trees. And that’s how Sophia and LiLi met, at a monthly Cli-Fi session. LiLi’s passion is palpable and we’ve been delighted to collaborate together on climate education projects. It’s more than high time we shared their other creative pursuits and workshops.
What concerns you about the world today?
LiLi’s response to this was that there was plenty to be concerned about, but they felt most problems came from either the climate crisis, or the effects of capitalism and right-wing ideologies. They felt they fluctuated between which seemed worse at any one time.
What positive contributions are you making?
LiLi had a lovely pick-and-mix of activities here supporting people to connect with nature and creativity! They are a facilitator with Climate Fresk; run nature writing workshops for organisations such as the London Wildlife Trust, the Chelsea Physic Garden, The Africa Centre; are supporting 16-25 year olds to create an anthology for the Nature Nurtures project; and they are also a performance poet at a range of events, including with the Seven Poet Trees project.
Have you had to make any sacrifices?
Similar to some of our other inspiring activists, LiLi was not sure that they’d had to make sacrifices, but rather had chosen to. But they did identify that they’d previously had a well-paid job in tech and that although there was much more autonomy in being freelance, there was a level of financial sacrifice. Also, LiLi explained that it was difficult to know sometimes just how and when to take time off: “Social life often has to happen in unsocial hours,” was their wry comment.
How do you stay motivated?
Appropriately for LiLi as a nature writer, they identified that being able to spend so much time writing and so much time being in nature was a great motivator for them. “I might publish more of my work, but I write for me”, LiLi commented. “And these days I spend much more time outdoors – in all weathers – and I enjoy supporting others to experience the natural world”.
What gives you hope?
LiLi made connections between this question and the previous one. “Seeing other people making positive contributions gives me hope and keeps me motivated,” they said. “I love it that I look around and can say ‘there’s this thing happening… and this thing… and also this thing…’” LiLi spoke about how hopeful they are knowing that people are fighting against the odds and winning battles. They commented on their use of war language, but said “it can feel like a fight sometimes”.
What if we make the changes needed, what will your world in 2030 look like?
“There’ll be universal income and we’ll be able to give energy to what needs to be done rather than how to earn a basic living,” was LiLi’s immediate answer. “We’ll all have more brain capacity, more time for volunteering, for example, not having to choose between how to make money and how to do what really needs doing…” Not surprisingly, as a poet, they spoke too about sensory differences from more abundance in the natural world and chose some autumnal examples: seeing and touching more trees and leaves, feeling more acorns under their feet.
A book that has helped you grow
LiLi chose Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. They commented that sometimes the language was problematic, but that the exercises regenerate them creatively.
Note: affiliate link to Bookshop.org
A song that keeps you going
LiLi told me how this changes daily, and they use a playlist app on their phone to make choices for the day ahead.
A quote that lifts you up
“All that you touch, You Change.Octavia E Butler, The Parable of the Sower
All that you Change, Changes you.
The only lasting truth Is Change.”
Imagine we gave you a microphone and every person on the planet can hear you, what would you say?
LiLi told me that the day before our interview, they’d been performing their poetry outdoors, so they want to use this as their message today:
What does it mean to care?
Ask the oak, at the gate,
What shall we do?
At home, the acorns,
Await their first sips of sunshine.
Blanketed by sound, all night, the rain.
I woke up, singing.
How do you like to be cared for?
Daphne Pleace Yorkshire, UK Daphne is our well-being director and in-house writer. She has over 50 years’ experience of ‘people’ work in a range of contexts. She has been, or still is, an English and drama teacher, a counsellor in educational and relational settings, a psychotherapist, and a facilitator and mentor in both personal and professional developmental contexts. She chooses now to devote her time and skills to individuals and organisations working with the climate crisis. View all posts